Airlines: remind people to cover their coughs

The conference finished yesterday. In the meantime, during the night between Saturday and Sunday, the cold passed on to me by the two lavishly sneezing coughing guys who sat next to me on the plane made itself known; I felt crappy all of yesterday and coughed enough for ten people. Oddly, though, it’s much better today. (But thanks, guys on the plane. Thanks a lot. Thanks for never properly covering your coughs and sneezes during the ten hours of that flight. Thanks for never giving a thought to the people trapped an inch away from you for ten hours. You’re real pigs, both of you.)

[pause to cough]

For dessert last night we went to a comedy bar for a show by Kate Smurthwaite, which was brilliant.

Before that I had tea with Marie-Therese in the hotel restaurant/bar. It was terrific to meet her at last, after all these years.


I’m at Schiphol. I survived! Mind you I expect to get very ill, because the guys on each side of me coughed and sneezed all over me for 10 hours.

I like the airbus though. There’s a nice little passage in the back where if things are quiet you can stand and exercise and stretch. I did that twice.


I leave for the airport in under three hours. I keep vaguely thinking I should be doing preparing things, but they’re mostly done really. I’m neurotic about travel.

It’s raining here. I keep thinking I should take a hoody because rain, but I don’t want to. I’m neurotic about packing.

It will get quiet here while I’m on the road, because I won’t have time (or Wifi) to post much. You guys should make this a nice coffee house thread to discuss all the things, so that you don’t get lonely for each other.

You could discuss

  • travel
  • places you’ve never been to that you want to be to
  • how to endure ten hours on a plane in an inside seat in the inside aisle
  • what food to pack in what quantity
  • crime and punishment [Read more…]

Homeopaths fight back

Sensibly, a Lothian (Scotland) NHS board decided to stop funding homeopathy yesterday.

Homeopaths are fighting back.

The British Homeopathic Association (BHA), which claimed the controversial 
alternative medicine had been the victim of a “hate campaign”, today refused to rule out a challenge in the courts.

The organisation believes the removal of clinics, used by around 500 people a year in the region, constitutes a “major service change” and is therefore a decision for the Scottish Government, rather than NHS Lothian.

However, other groups expressed delight that the service had been cut, calling the decision a victory for “evidence over superstition”, and said the BHA should “shut up”.

Shut up and listen? Or just shut up.

I kid, I kid. [Read more…]

Forced marriage and murder in Turkey

A guest post by Torcant Torcant

Warning: it’s a horror.

Dilan (18) was married 20 days ago to her husband Selcuk Dogan, in Dogubeyazit at Agri province in Turkey. She was actually her husbands maternal aunts daughter. Dilan and Selcuk were engaged a year ago after an arrangement made by their families. Dilan was in love with someone else, but nevertheless she couldn’t resist her family and accepted the engagement. During the period she was engaged she made clear that she didn’t love and want her arranged husband and later she openly confessed to Selcuk that she was in love with someone else. But who cares? Did she have a vagina? Yes! She was forced to marry. After the marriage, she refused to have sex with her husband. Well, now that’s a problem! The husband told the story to his family. The husband’s family contacted Dilan’s family and said “Your daughter is in love with someone else, take her back!”. Her family said “We can’t take her back. That will bring us shame!”

Husband’s family gathered to discuss the problem and decided that they should kill the bride, and the husband should do it. [Read more…]

If you call yourself Tinky Winky

Wired has a nice amusing interview with Richard Dawkins. They asked him about comment moderation at RDF the website.

I’m afraid the internet is filled with people using really very intemperate language. I’m in favour of ridicule, but not abuse and I think we do a pretty good job on of controlling the abuse.

Part of the problem all over the internet is anonymity. Because people are anonymous they would say things to other people that they would never dream of saying to their face and would never dream of saying if they had to sign their own name to it. But if you call yourself Tinky Winky or something no one knows who you are or where you are. [Read more…]

No contact

A court in Burma found two Muslim women guilty of setting off a recent outbreak of sectarian violence, which seems a tiny bit suspect given that it’s usually Muslims who are the victims of sectarian violence in Burma.

Myint Thein of the pro-government National Unity Party, who attended their trial, said Wednesday that the two women in the central township of Okkan were convicted of “insulting religion.” Both were sentenced to two years in prison with hard labor. [Read more…]